Before coming to university, something I found myself regularly debating was whether I should work in my first year. I had a retail job at home that offered me a transfer to the store in Bath which had been my plan all along. However, when the time came, my gut was telling me not to do it.
The month before university throws up numerous anxieties, and you have so much to consider. Whilst a lot of this is unnecessary overthinking and worrying, I found that adding a job into the mix would have been too much. I just kept thinking that if I started working immediately then I would become overwhelmed when I was already trying to cope with the new responsibilities of spending time with new people, doing uni work, cooking, cleaning, and having some time left over for myself.
I spoke to some people I knew who were already at university and had worked in their first year. They gave me a mixed range of feedback, but I found that a common theme was that it could generally be restricting when faced with so many new challenges already. It wasn’t, however, impossible.
So, it basically boiled down to what I thought I could handle. Technically I knew I could handle it. Physically I had always worked long hours alongside my school studies during Sixth Form. But I wasn’t sure I could handle it mentally. And, I knew that I had already worked hard during my part-time job for two years so I thought I deserved a bit of time off…
And in retrospect?
I am glad that I didn’t take the retail job for my first year, as I definitely took some time adjusting to university life without adding this into the equation. However, I’m someone who likes to be busy and couldn’t cope without having some kind of work on the side, which is how I found myself writing posts for the University's Student Blogs. What's great about this is it is far more flexible than a retail job would be, and my loan meant that I could cope with the decrease in wages as the retail job would obviously have demanded more hours. Due to this flexibility, I would definitely recommend trying to get a campus job as opposed to a city retail job in your first year, unless you really need it financially.
Instead, I am returning to my old retail job in Bath for Year Two of uni, being more settled in and stable now. So it definitely worked out better this way in the long run!
Worried about finances without a job on the side?
A common struggle at University is that often, accommodation payments for the year exceed loan income. I worried about this a lot because despite having some savings, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of spending.
Watch the video below for my experience and advice with budgeting once you have your Student Finance loan!